Penang pitches for stronger MICE status

NEW MICE facilities and a first-ever CVB are on the cards for Penang, which is hoping to evolve into an international MICE destination.

Penang state minister for Tourism Development & Culture, Danny Law, told TTGmice e-Weekly that the initiatives were “part of Penang’s strategy to become an international city”, and allow it to attract more domestic and international MICE business.

Upcoming MICE facilities in Penang include the Subterranean Penang International Convention & Exhibition Centre (sPICE), and a convention space within the future The Light Waterfront Penang development.

sPICE is being built on the site of the Penang International Sports Arena and Aquatic Centre in Relau. Expected to be ready by 2015, the venue will boast a 5,000-pax ballroom, while the twin sports facilities are also being spruced up to the tune of RM300 million (US$94 million). Meanwhile, construction of two new hotels – one within sPICE and the other close by – jointly offering more than 400 rooms, is scheduled to be completed by 2014.

According to Law, the convention facility at The Light Waterfront Penang, slated to open in 2017, would have the capacity to cater to 8,000 people.

Besides the new event spaces, Penang will also welcome a theme park in 2014 and a variety of new hotels. Several boutique properties currently being developed in the George Town heritage area and elsewhere are expected to add some 2,000 rooms to the city’s inventory of 14,000 rooms, said Law.

“With such (upcoming) facilities, we need to have a CVB to market Penang and to ensure that we can bring business to them,” he said, while declining to reveal further details about the formation of Penang’s first MICE bureau.

Meanwhile, Penang State Tourism intends to develop its Penang International Travel Mart (PITM), launched this year, into a regional event (TTG Asia e-Daily, July 6, 2012).

“From next year on, PITM will not only sell Penang to international buyers, but also products of South-east Asia,” said Law.

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